In a paper published July 28 in the journal Current Biology, researchers have shown that feeding bumble bees caffeine helps them better remember the smell of a specific flower with nectar inside. While previous studies have shown that bees like caffeine and will more frequently visit caffeinated flowers to get it, this is the first study to show that consuming caffeine in their nest actually helps bees find certain flowers outside of the nest.
Twenty months after declaring a climate emergency and establishing a set of vital signs for the Earth, a coalition headed by two Oregon State University researchers says the updated vital signs "largely reflect the consequences of unrelenting business as usual."
A genetic analysis of fruit in the mandarin family has unraveled a complex journey from the mountainous region of southern China to the markets of Okinawa, says researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University.
Scientists have created plants whose cells and tissues 'blush' with beetroot pigments when they are colonised by fungi that help them take up nutrients from the soil. This is the first time this vital, 400 million year old process has been visualised in real time in full root systems of living plants. Understanding the dynamics of plant colonisation by fungi could help to make food production more sustainable in the future.
In a new PLOS Genetics study, researchers have uncovered evidence showing that cattle are losing important environmental adaptations, losses the researchers attribute to a lack of genetic information available to farmers. After examining genetic material stretching back to the 1960s, they identified specific DNA variations associated with adaptations that could one day be used to create DNA tests for cattle -- tests that could tell farmers whether their cattle are suited for one environment or another.
More than 820 million people in the world don't have enough to eat, while climate change and increasing competition for land and water are further raising concerns about the future balance between food demand and supply. The results of a new IIASA-led study can be used to benchmark global food security projections and inform policy analysis and public debate on the future of food.
A researcher from the University of Tsukuba, together with well-known development economists, conducted randomized trials of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) agronomy method. Following SRI training of 5,486 Bangladeshi rice farmers, they compared trained and untrained farmers. The results showed compelling benefits for SRI's efficacy in increasing yield and profits, how it improves farming households' well-being, and its positive spillover effects in communities. This bolsters support for SRI's value, especially in the Global South.
A news study in PNAS shows soil microbes boost "hybrid vigor," a well-known phenomenon where crosses between inbred lines of corn and other crops produce offspring that outperform their parents in yield, drought resistance and other desirable qualities.
In a recent article in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, a group of researchers analysed how farmland consolidation influences wild pollinator communities. They discovered that consolidation, while trying to optimise the productivity and output of the land, reduces the diversity of pollinators by 30%.
In a new review in the Journal of Dairy Science, a team from Iowa State University Department of Animal Science critically reviews the current accepted understanding of cow health between giving birth and beginning to produce milk to investigate the reasons for persistent health problems. Their findings suggest lines of inquiry that may prove more effective and call into question methods and conclusions of previous research and how such work has been applied in the dairy industry.